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I want to make sure my kids are safe this season. What are some tips on safety to help ensure that they don’t hurt themselves with all of their new toys?

Answered by Page Geske, Manager, Safe Kids Magic Valley:

It is important to remember to make sure that toys are both age-appropriate and safe for children. Since 2000, an average of 20 children ages 14 and under have died annually from a toy-related incident. Since 2000, it is estimated that an average of 168,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency departments for toy-related injuries annually.

Approximately 50 percent of toy-related injuries resulting in emergency department visits occurred to children under 5 years of age. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented.

Here are some tips to prevent toy injuries:

• Before shopping for toys, consider the child’s age, interest and skill level.

• When shopping, read labels. Look for well-made toys and follow the age and safety information on the warning labels.

• Consider purchasing a small-parts tester to determine whether or not small toys and objects in your home may present a choking hazard to young children.

• Check the website of the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for updated information and pictures of recalled toys that may be harmful to children (www.cpsc.gov.)

• Buy age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels.

• Strings, straps, cords, ribbons and loops can be a strangulation hazard to a child. These toys should never be hung in cribs or playpens where children can potentially become entangled.

• Electrical toys are a potential burn or shock hazard. Children under 8 years of age should not use toys with a heating element.

• Choose mylar balloons, which are a safe alternative to latex balloons.

• Riding toys including nonmotorized scooters and tricycles are associated with more injuries than any other toy group.

• Choking is also a leading cause of injury to children 3 years and younger — coins and toys being hazards that are not related to food.

• Ensure that toys are used in a safe environment.

• Riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools. Riding toy-related deaths can occur when a child falls from a toy or rides a toy into a body of water. Always supervise children at play. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with children rather than supervising from a distance.

For more information and tips on purchasing safe toys and age-appropriate toys, go to www.safekids.org and click on “Toy Safety.”

Locally, you can consult Safe Kids Magic Valley at 208-814-7641. It is a local department of St. Luke’s Magic Valley and is committed to preventing unintentional and accidental injury and death in children under the ages of 18.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not stop or delay seeking treatment because of something you read in this article. Further, the views or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily represent those of St. Luke’s. Reliance on any information provided by St. Luke’s, St. Luke’s employees or others supplying information for the column at the invitation of St. Luke’s is solely at your own risk.

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